Hidden Household Asthma Triggers

A new study reports that chemicals contained in many common household products and cleaning supplies could be to blame for respiratory conditions. However, many medical experts refute these claims, saying that most products for sale today do meet safety requirements and that any chemicals contained in them are in doses too low to pose a danger.

The new study was conducted by an advocacy group called Silent Spring Institute in Massachusetts, which is an organization that's dedicated to uncovering links between environmental chemicals and women's health. The researchers examined 50 categories of consumer products in an attempt to understand why rates of asthma have been increasing in recent years. To this end, they identified many chemicals contained in beauty and health care items, cleaning products, detergents, and fragrances that they believe could be to blame for triggering asthma and interfering with normal hormonal functioning, which could pose other health risks.

Some of the things the researchers identified as particularly high in worrisome chemicals include air fresheners, perfume, dryer sheets, vinyl shower curtains, and even pillow protectors.

What the Critics Say About Chemicals Found in Household Products

Before you panic and rid your home of these common items, it's important to know that other respected industry experts don't buy these results. In fact, they caution consumers that while the products could contain chemicals, the amounts are still in low enough doses that don't pose any risk. As a result, they say that the findings don't provide a realistic view of the situation, scaring people about using their regular products without any scientific data to back up the claims of danger.

What This Means for You

There doesn't seem to be any hard data to prove that the items you use every day can make you sick. However, the study findings can certainly serve as a wake up call to remind you to make educated choices when it comes to buying health, beauty, and household products. It's a good idea to read labels for ingredients so you can become familiar with what you expose your body to on a daily basis. Also remember that it's usually best for people with asthma to look for more natural products and limit the choices to those that come in unscented options. Pay attention to reactions and when and how they occur. This can help alert you to those household products that could make you sick.




Dodson, Robin et al. "Endocrine Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products." Environmental Health Perspectives. Online 8 March 2012. Web. 19 April 2012.

Silent Spring Institute. "Fact Sheet: Hormone Disruptors and Asthma-Associated Chemicals in Consumer Products." N.d. Web. 20 April 2012.

Westervelt, Amy. Forbes.com. "Study Highlights Hidden Dangers in Everyday Products — Even the "Green" Ones." 8 March 2012. Web. 19 April 2012.